31st August 2018
NINE BRITS AIMING TO END DIAMOND LEAGUE ON HIGH IN BRUSSELS
Nine Brits will battle for a coveted IAAF Diamond League title as the curtain comes down on the 2018 series with the second of two finals in Brussels.
After strong performances from Dina Asher-Smith (coach: John Blackie) and Matthew Hudson-Smith (Lance Brauman) at the first final in Zurich, fellow European champion Laura Muir (Andy Young) will lead the Diamond League events charge as one of six to have reached the podium at the Olympiastadion in Berlin earlier this month.
Reece Prescod (Jonas Dodoo) and CJ Ujah (Stuart McMillan) in the 100m, Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) in the long jump, Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) in the 800m and Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) in the 1500m with Muir, will all be bidding to transfer their European medal winning form.
European bronze medallist Meghan Beesley (Michael Baker) is also in action, but the women’s 400m hurdles title was wrapped up last night in Zurich, while world No.1 Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) and Jazmin Sawyers (Brauman), fourth in Berlin, will give Proctor a run for her money.
It is the women’s long jump that will kick off the British interest in Brussels with Proctor, Ugen and Sawyers set to continue their fascinating three-way tussle although German European champion Malaika Mihambo is the form pick.
Mihambo topped the Diamond League standings ahead of Ugen after victory in Birmingham but the Brit is comfortably the world lead as the only athlete to have leapt seven metres after her 7.05m in July.
Ugen was ninth at the Europeans though while Proctor took bronze and Sawyers had to settle for an agonising fourth after an epic tussle with her teammate and Ukrainian Maryna Bekh – not in Brussels – that went down to the last jump.
Adam Hague (Trevor Fox) is the only other British field athlete in action in Brussels, contesting the men’s pole vault after leaping a personal best 5.65m on the way to tenth in Berlin earlier this month.
Muir and Weightman both go in the women’s 1500m, the event in which they were first and third in Berlin, and will be put to the test as part of a field including European 5,000m champion Sifan Hassan, Gudaf Tsegay and Shelby Houlihan who have all run quicker.
If the last Diamond League before the finals is anything to go by, the men’s 100m could be the highlight in Brussels with European silver medallist Prescod set for a rematch with world indoor champion Christian Coleman.
American Coleman beat Prescod by one hundredth of a second at the Alexander Stadium, the Briton recording a new personal best 9.94 for the narrowest of seconds, but eyes will be on everyone in the field such is the quality.
British teammate Ujah is the reigning Diamond League champion while Coleman’s teammate Ronnie Baker is the quickest having clocked 9.87 just over a week ago and Michael Rodgers is narrowly behind with a 9.89 season’s best.
Wightman will close Britain’s Diamond League charge when he goes in the 800m, the 24-year-old having won European bronze in the 1500m in Berlin and before that the same colour at the Commonwealth Games in April.
Fellow European bronze medallist Beesley is one of three Brits set to compete in non-Diamond League events as she looks to continue what has been a fine season with the British 400m hurdles title secure in addition to her Berlin success.
Lynsey Sharp (Terrence Mahon) is the quickest in the women’s 800m and the only athlete in the field to have ducked under two minutes this season. Sharp broke the two-minute barrier for the third time this season in Italy last week and will be bidding for more of the same.
Rabah Yousif (Carol Williams), who claimed European 4x400m relay silver in Berlin, completes the British trio, lining up in the 400m as the quickest on personal bests and equal fourth fastest of the eight this season.
Full start lists can be found here.
The Brussels Diamond League will be on Eurosport 2 at 19:00 this evening. Highlights will be on BBC One from 13:15 on Saturday 1 September.